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Harvard Accepts Higher Number of Students and Regains Top Spot Despite Challenges and Controversy

The President and CEO of Command Education said, “I’m seeing clients who were so against Harvard just four months ago, easing back into it already."
Cover Image Source: A view of the Harvard University campus | Unsplash | Photo by Somesh Kesarla Suresh
Cover Image Source: A view of the Harvard University campus | Unsplash | Photo by Somesh Kesarla Suresh

Getting into an Ivy League institution is a dream for most students who are working on a vision to emerge as future leaders, innovators, and CEOs. Harvard University is one of the most prestigious names among these, and students across the globe aspire to study at Harvard because of its history of excellence. However, few make it to the esteemed university as it has a tough admission process with an acceptance rate of 3.2%. Despite falling to the third position amidst economic challenges and controversies in 2023, Harvard has regained its top spot among educational institutions in the country.

Graduating from Harvard is not just a dream bur an emotion. Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Vasily Koloda
Graduating from Harvard is a dream for millions of students (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by Vasily Koloda

There have been accusations of plagiarism and antisemitism on campus, following which Harvard's President Claudine Gay resigned. This affected student applications and Harvard faced a huge dilemma. The decrease in admissions is attributed to the devastating repercussions of the 7th October attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Students generally apply early to Harvard, but the antisemitism incidents on campus resulted in a 17% application decline before 1st November 2023. Last year, 9,553 candidates were applying early for the Class of 2028, but this year, there were just 7,921 applicants, according to the Harvard Crimson. Hafeez Lakhani, founder and president of Lakhani Coaching expressed his disbelief, saying, “That was an absolute shock," But the recent Princeton Review survey says something else. The Princeton Review asked nearly 8,000 students in a survey conducted between Jan 15 and Feb 20 about their hopes and the challenges faced regarding their college application. Despite the challenges, Harvard is still the top choice for most students. “Students are focused on what is the value of their degree going to earn for them and Harvard is still top of mind,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief.


Seeing the decline, Harvard accepted and admitted 8.74% of the total applications, which is much higher than last year's 7.56%. Experts say that this is one of the highest acceptance rates that has been witnessed at Harvard since 2019. The slight improvement in the acceptance rate has encouraged a lot of students to apply to the university. Christopher Rim, the President and CEO of Command Education commented, saying, “I’m seeing clients who were so against Harvard just four months ago, easing back into it already."


Only a few weeks are left for May 1st (National College Decision Day), which is the deadline for students to decide on accepting offers from the universities. Additionally, at this time, students also have to pay an initial deposit to secure their seat in the chosen college. The biggest challenge lies in the finances. Students who have won the Financial Aid awards are relaxed as those letters are mostly rolled out with offer letters so that they can easily make a decision.

However, due to the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there might be a substantial delay in Financial Aid letters which is causing financial complications for parents and students. Choosing a college for future education mostly depends on financial resources. As per The Princeton Review, "A whopping 98% of families said financial aid would be necessary to pay for college and 82% said it was “extremely” or “very” necessary."